• Jennifer Jewell

OUR HUNGER, HEARTACHE & IDENTITIES HEALED IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN, w/ CLAIRE RATINON


FOODSCAPING - with Brie Arthur. Photo courtesy of Brie Arthur, all rights reserved.

Claire Ratinon is a gardener, a writer, and a passionate advocate for the growing of food no matter where you live or how small a space you might live in. She herself first fell in love with growing her own food while living in a one room flat.


Born in Mauritius and raised in England, her horticultural work is deeply interested in how the existential hunger and heartache of our times is met and a re-discovery of our own senses of identity can be rooted in the edible garden.


"Healing a heart is the work of a life time, isn't it?"

Claire Ratinon,

"How to Grow Your Own Dinner Without Leaving the House" (Laurence King Press, 2020)



Claire has recently published a chap book on horticultural appropriation and decolonizing the garden in association with the Garden Museum, London. She is also at work on her second book.



You can follow along with Claire's work online at: Claireratinon.com, or on Instagram: @claireratinon



Join us again next week when we have the first of a two-part series celebrating the publication of Under Western Skies a new book conceived and photographed by Caitlin Atkinson, and published by Timber Press on May 11, 2021.


THINKING OUT LOUD this week..

SO.....


I like this idea of our identities being interrelated with the plants we grow, their histories and our histories with them. It seems hopeful - and helpful - to have our identities intertwined with living creatures and processes... and I like Claire’s semi-gratitude-prayer:


“I am so grateful for all the beings that uphold me, for the people who pick our food and process the wheat and the corn and all of the things we rely on every day.”


We are indeed upheld by so much that is invisible, implausible and quite frankly miraculous – the indefatigable functioning of so many beings and so many processes.


Let me count the ways....


Claire’s exploration of the concept of self-sufficiency is likewise gratifying and especially thought-provoking to me at this moment in my life for some reason.


Self-sufficiency is held up as such an important goal (even somehow an admirable character trait?) in so many ways in our lives as Americans.


But what does that cost?


and what is lost?


I had not thought about it as an implied insult to the many beings that hold us all up – as an antithesis of community - but of course it is. The concept of self-sufficiency belies and dismisses them, diminishes and erases even their importance and necessity and tender loving care in our lives.


This reframing makes our necessary networks so much more valued and visible – it maybe even asks us to consider what is sufficient – what is enough? And what is invaluable in a whole new light. A garden hearted light if I might say so.


And perhaps with widespread acknowledgement, this reframing leads to a more humble and appreciative mindset.


As we thread our ways through our garden works and days,

completely dependent on one another,

collectively.


With that, a quick shout out to the very tangible ways that you all uphold me and these conversations and thoughtful garden variety provocations: Cherise, Richard, Shannon, Karen, Clare, Monica, Marnie, Tysh, Trina, Mary, Vanessa, Kim, and Hugh – thank you for your deeply appreciated recent support.



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